French Make it Official With Nice NFC Launch

May 27 2010

Organizers of France’s “precommercial” launch of Near Field Communication services in Nice have made it official, kicking off what they say is the first project of its kind in Europe and a “rehearsal” for a national rollout of NFC next year in France.

The government-backed Nice project, which involves four mobile operators, at least two banks and the city’s transit operator, will enable subscribers to tap their phones to pay fares for buses and trams, make purchases in some stores and tap smart posters for updated transit schedules and tourist information. NFC-based student services at the nearby University of Nice Sophia Antipolis will also be available.

The four mobile operators, Orange-France, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, will put around 4,000 NFC phones on sale to subscribers in Nice initially. The phones will be the NFC version of the popular, though sub-3G, touch-screen phone, the Samsung (S5230) Player One. The phone, nicknamed the Player One “cityzi” for this project, will store secure applications in SIM cards the telcos issue with a standard connection to NFC chips in the phones. Cityzi is the brand and acceptance mark organizers have chosen for NFC in France.

Organizers, which officially launched the project Friday, see it as a prelude to a national rollout, which could begin in the Paris region, where transit authority STIF has committed to rolling out NFC-based transit ticketing in 2011.

But in announcing the Nice launch, French mobile operator group Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, or AFSCM, has volunteered a projection that only about 500,000 subscribers could be equipped with NFC cityzi phones by the end of 2011.

Besides paying bus and tram fares, subscribers will be able to buy transit tickets over the air, including making purchases of up to 10 euros (US$12.40) directly from their operators, which will put the charges on the subscribers’ phone bills.

Retail payment is also part of the launch, although merchant acceptance is limited for now and only two banks have publicized plans for participation so far. Others are expected to follow later in the year.

One of those two banks is BNP Paribas, which announced Friday it would be issuing 5,000 contactless EMV cards to customers in Nice and will also make its “KIX” mobile-payment application available. The cards and phone payment service will support the Visa payWave contactless application.

For the phone application, customers must enter a “private code” on their handset keypads before completing a purchase. But for purchases below 20 euros, they could choose not to enter the PIN, the bank noted.

BNP is referring to both the contactless cards and NFC phone application as “trial offers,” not precommercial launches, involving 43 of its branches in and around Nice. It will begin to promote the project in June.

Customers with NFC phones will need to activate the payment applications preloaded on their SIM cards in bank branches, according to an announcement Friday by France-based Gemalto, which confirmed it is serving as trusted service manager, or TSM, for Crédit Mutuel-CIC bank. The bank is an owner of NRJ Mobile, which is a mobile virtual network operator.

Unlike with BNP Paribas, customers of Crédit Mutuel-CIC will be able to buy the NFC phones in their bank branches, not only in mobile shops, according to the Gemalto release.

Gemalto also announced Friday it will serve as TSM for operator Orange France. TSMs generally download and manage applications over the air to NFC phones.

UPDATE: France-based Oberthur Technologies is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources, as well as for telcos SFR and Bouygues. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The story earlier indicated that Gemalto and Oberthur were both serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel-CIC. The story should have stated Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel and Oberthur for BNP Paribas. See project page.)   

Article comments

 
Yves May 25 2010

Dan, who is providing TSM services for Crédit Mutuel, Gemalto or Oberthur ?

Dan Balaban's picture
Dan Balaban May 27 2010

Yves,
Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel. The story should have read that Oberthur is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources. Thanks for the question to clear up this point.

 
VAS2010 Jun 1 2010

Nice news)
Dan, will you show us statistic later?

Please register or login to post a comment.

HEADLINE NEWS

Exclusive: What Tokenization Fees from Visa Might Look Like for Issuers

NFC TIMES Exclusive – While Visa has said it is waiving tokenization fees for issuers that join its commercial tokenization hub, VDEP, and use its Visa Token Service, some observers believe the network will charge the fees sooner or later.

Sony Launches Support for FeliCa Technology on HCE Devices, Though Few Handsets Available Yet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Japan’s Sony Corp. is supporting host card emulation with its proprietary FeliCa contactless technology, which could enable service providers to avoid the need for secure elements in rolling out FeliCa-based applications on NFC phones.

Samsung Semiconductor Faces Challenges in Rolling Out Contactless-Payments Service for Wearables

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung Semiconductor believes there is room for yet another closed-loop payments service, one that enables consumers to pay with contactless wearables devices that carry its dual-interface chips.

Android Pay Launches in Belgium, While State-Owned Belfius Bank Takes Two-Staged Approach to Own HCE Rollout

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Two of the largest banks in Belgium have launched, or are planning to launch, HCE-based mobile payments but chose different approaches: BNP Paribas Fortis decided to first launch with Android Pay, while state-owned Belfius Bank plans to enable the service within its mobile-banking app.

Serbia's KomBank Seeks to Increase Mobile Banking Users with HCE Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Komercijalna banka Beograd, known as KomBank, one of Serbia’s largest banks, incorporated a host-card-emulation-based mobile payment service into its mobile banking app to increase awareness and use of the app, Slobodan Lukić, the bank's deputy director of the payment cards division told NFC Times.

Apple Pay Launches in Ireland and Gears Up in Italy; but Only One Major Bank On Board So Far in Each Country

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple has expanded its mobile payments service to another small market, with its launch Tuesday in Ireland, but is preparing to launch in a much larger market, Italy.

Taiwan’s Largest Transit Ticketing Service Plans Bluetooth-Enabled Mobile Ticketing, Though Needs Regulatory Approval

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Taiwan’s EasyCard Corp., the operator of the country’s largest closed-loop transit and retail payments service, is working with a provider of Bluetooth-enabled mobile payments technology to offer customers an NFC-like experience to pay for rides and purchases in stores.

Australian Domestic Debit Network Nears Launch of Token Service Provider to Compete with Visa and Mastercard

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Australia’s largest domestic debit network, eftpos, plans to launch its overdue tokenization service commercially by the second quarter, likely serving at least one of the country’s big four banks for its HCE mobile wallet and one or more of the “Pays” wallets, such as Android Pay and possibly Apple Pay, NFC Times has learned.

Certification Issues and Legal Battle Delay Launch of Kerv Ring; Wearables Maker Says Ring Ready

NFC TIMES Exclusive – After two years addressing design, certification and legal issues, UK-based start-up Kerv Wearables says it’s finally ready to launch its NFC-enabled ring.

Exclusive: Why are Some of the Largest U.S. Merchants Balking at Supporting NFC?

NFC TIMES Exclusive – While the base of contactless point-of-sale terminals in the U.S. has grown substantially over the past two and a half years, some of the country’s largest merchants continue to resist the idea of accepting such NFC wallets as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Exclusive: Taiwanese Banks to Pay Apple Cut of Transaction Fees on Par with U.S.

NFC TIMES Exclusive – TAIPEI, Taiwan: Apple will collect a cut of transaction fees from Taiwanese banks on credit card transactions that is around the same level as the tech giant takes from U.S. credit card issuers, when Apple Pay launches in Taiwan, expected later this month, NFC Times has learned.

Analysis: Why QR Codes are Challenging NFC to Enable Mobile Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Despite the resurgence in demand for NFC technology with the launch of Apple Pay in 2014, followed by other NFC-enabled “Pays” wallets and the separate rollout of HCE technology by Google, use of QR codes for mobile payments continues to grow in popularity globally.